Weekly News via Email
   Set as homepage | Add to favorites | Customer Service | Subscribe Now | Place an Ad | Contact Us | Sitemap Sunday, 12.21.2014
Classifieds
News Archive
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
 1  2  3
 4  5  6  7  8  9  10
 11  12  13  14  15  16  17
 18  19  20  21  22  23  24
 25  26  27  28  29  30
Online Extras
Site Services
Around Bend
Outdoor Fun
Travel Info
Shop Local




Members Of



Poll: Today's Live Poll
Email to a friend | Print this | PDF version | Comments (0 posted) 
  Blogger |   del.icio.us |   digg |   newsvine

Nov 16,2007
Make sure your charitable contributions hit the mark
by Jason Alderman

Americans lead the world in charitable giving. In 2006 alone, we gave a record $295 billion, of which 76 percent came from individuals. That doesn't even count time spent volunteering, which some sources value at $150 billion or more.

Half of all charitable contributions are made between Thanksgiving and New Years, whether because we're reminded at this time of year to help those less fortunate, we're feeling more generous or simply to lock in tax write-offs.

Whatever your motivation, take a few precautions to ensure your gift has the biggest possible impact, both on the people you want to help and on your own bottom line:

Do your homework. Not all non-profits are well-managed, so before contributing your hard-earned cash, visit the organization's website and review its goals, programs it sponsors and how donations are spent. Ideally, at least 75 percent of contributions should go directly to beneficiary programs, versus salaries and expenses.

These online rating services also can help:

·                     www.charitynavigator.org rates over 5,000 large charities according financial strength and revenue spent on programs and services. Although it doesn't list smaller organizations, you can use their guidelines to formulate your own inquiries.

·                     www.guidestar.org, shares information about programs and finances at more than 1.5 million IRS-recognized nonprofits.

·                     The Better Business Bureau's www.give.org rates whether organizations have met its standards of accountability, including ethical conduct and honest solicitation practices.

Remember tax deductions. If you itemize federal income tax deductions, you can deduct money and property contributions to qualified tax-exempt organizations, within IRS guidelines. And, although your time spent volunteering isn't tax-deductible, associated mileage may be. For complete details, refer to Publication 526 at www.irs.gov.

Be aware that IRS guidelines have gotten more stringent. For example, you now must obtain receipts for all charitable contributions, including small cash donations (e.g., church collection plates). For individual contributions under $250, a cancelled check or credit card statement will do, but for amounts over $250, you need detailed, written acknowledgement from the charity.

Clothing or household items are now only deductible if they're in good condition or better. The IRS hasn't yet defined what "good condition" means, so you may want to take digital photos and describe everything you donate, in case you're audited. The Salvation Army's valuation guide can help you determine the value of contributed items (www.satruck.com/ValueGuide.asp).

The government did institute one tax-favorable policy for charitable contributions: In 2007, if you own an IRA and are age 70 1/2 or older, you can transfer up to $100,000 from your IRA directly to an IRS-eligible organization, tax free. The distribution isn't considered taxable income and such transfers count toward meeting IRA minimum distribution requirements.

No word yet on whether this deduction will be available in future years. Consult a financial advisor for your particular situation.

Beware of scams. Unscrupulous people sometimes misrepresent themselves as legitimate charities, so be wary of unsolicited calls or emails seeking contributions. Visit the organization's website independently (not through a link in the email), and never give out your credit card information unless you initiated the contact.

If money is tight, you can always volunteer your time - organizations appreciate the help and you can connect more closely with the causes you support.
3457 times read

Related news
Get a bigger tax refund this year by Bend Weekly News Sources posted on Feb 02,2007

State employees' gifts to charities top $1 million by Bend_Weekly_News_Sources posted on Mar 16,2007




Did you enjoy this article? Rating: 4.12Rating: 4.12Rating: 4.12Rating: 4.12Rating: 4.12 (total 129 votes)

Market Information
Breaking News
Most Popular
Most Commented
Featured Columnist
Horoscope Guide
Aquarius Aquarius Libra Libra
Aries Aries Pisces Pisces
Cancer Cancer Sagittarius Sagittarius
Capricorn Capricorn Scorpio Scorpio
Gemini Gemini Taurus Taurus
Leo Leo Virgo Virgo
Local Attractions
Bend Visitors & Convention Bureau
Bend Visitors & Convention Bureau

Mt. Bachelor Resort
Mt. Bachelor Resort

Les Schwab Ampitheater
Les Schwab Ampitheater

Deschutes County Fairgrounds
Deschutes County
Fairgrounds

Tower Theatre
Tower Theatre

The High Desert Museum

Advertisements



Deschutes County

Google  
  Web    BendWeekly.com
© 2006 Bend Weekly News
A .Com Endeavors, Inc. Company.
All Rights Reserved. Terms under
which this service is provided to you.
Please read our Privacy Policy. Contact us.
Bend Weekly News & Event Guide Online
   Save the Net
Advertisement
External sites open in new window,
not endorsed by BendWeekly.com
Subscribe in NewsGator Online
Add to Google Add to MSN Add to My AOL
What are RSS headlines?